Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tolerating Unforeseen Events and Circumstances

How do you tolerate those unforeseen events and circumstances that invade everyone's life at some point or other? Does the frustration turn you into a raving maniac? Do you take it out on someone else? Do you pull your hair out, pace the floor like a caged animal or complain incessantly? How much can you tolerate before you reach your breaking point and your pressure valve goes off?

Those are all questions I'm dealing with right now. Well, except for the one about pulling my hair out. That's not a possibility for me these days. It's 21 days and counting since My McVansion and I limped to the engine hospital and I admitted the patient (and 23 days since My McVansion had a heart "engine" attack). . . READ MORE

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ed & The Aberts: Van Dwelling & Cargo Conversion - A Video Documentary

So, during my lifetime I've been interviewed on the radio, TV and local cable TV channels. Now, by introducing the new video documentary, Ed & TheAberts: Van Dwelling & Cargo Conversion, I become an international YouTube video star.

Okay, I'll keep my ego in check. This video interview footage was shot back in December (2014) and was just released today to the public (yesterday, by the time many of you will read this). Michael Tubbs, the producer, released his first YouTube documentary, in what appears to be an ongoing series about the "mobile lifestyle." Michael is exploring this unique, I'll call it a, sub-culture of people who choose to live their lives as location independent, nomadic individuals. Perhaps they are somewhat akin to the Gypsies in Europe.

The people who make up this sub-culture range from those who are living on the road in cars, vans, campers and RV's by circumstance to those who are professionals, many with multiple degrees in a variety of fields. The common denominator is that whether by circumstance or choice, they are all mobile and do not have a fixed residence. For all practical intents and purposes, living in a fixed location and residence is considered the normal lifestyle in the United States and most countries around the world.

Michael and I were in contact very shortly after the release of his first YouTube documentary on the subject, Without Bound: Perspectives on Mobile Living. Since I was heading west from West Virginia to the west coast for the winter with a stop in northeast Arkansas to visit friends, Michael suggested he meet me there and shoot the footage for his second documentary on the lifestyle. I was visiting with my long time friend and book designer, Craig and his wife, Julie. Craig is also an over the road truck driver for one of the major national freight carriers. Michael thought that would be another interesting perspective on this mobile lifestyle. Unfortunately, Craig wasn't available for the video shoot. My other friends, John and Sharon Abert, I met through my blog and email. We have become good friends. John and Sharon were interested in being a part of this experience. Since they are in the process of downsizing, preparing to sell their home and go on the road full-time in a utility trailer John is converting into their home on wheels, their story presents another perspective.

So, the die was cast. The players were all lined up, the date set and the rest is now history. We shared an evening and a day together. It was busy with a lot of discussion and then the video rolling and capturing me and the Aberts. We covered a lot of territory and, of course a lot of it ended up, as the old movie line goes, "on the cutting room floor." But, Michael did a very fine job of pulling out the essence of what the three of us had to say about our lives, lifestyles and philosophies. He also included tours of My McVansion (my personally designed and converted van into my micro-condo on wheels) and John and Sharon's plans for their utility trailer, currently under construction.

There are always some things left out that one would have wanted left in. As you watch the video you'll hear me say that I am living well, happily with everything I need and want (maybe still too much) under the poverty level. I feel it's important to point out that I am not living this lifestyle by circumstance. I am living this lifestyle 100% by choice. I live under, what the government has labeled, the poverty level because I CAN. I don't have a need or a desire to spend anymore than I have to in order to live comfortably, eat well, enjoy exploring the U.S. (and eventually Canada and possibly parts of Mexico) and enjoy all the people I visit and meet along the journey. I say again, this is a lifestyle choice.

So, I hope you'll watch and enjoy the documentary and make comments in the comment section and/or comments here on the blog or both if you're so inclined. You can also comment on Facebook or my Google + pages as well.

And now, on with the show.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #195 A Different Point Of View, The Eastern United States From 30,000 Feet, October 2014

Don't you just love photos shot from an airliner window? That's a rhetorical question. I typically don't shoot aerial shots from airliners these days, BUT I usually opt for an aisle seat, so I'm not near the windows. Let's face it, I think most amateur photographers are looking for that one in a million shot and I'm no different. You occasionally see one of these photos in my Photo of the Week series. And, to be honest, I have had, in my opinion, a few close to the one in a million shots over the years. No winner, yet, though. . . READ MORE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Freely Changing - A New Year - A New Look

You probably noticed a rather obvious change to the blog.

Yes! It has a new title and along with it a new URL. The main title of this blog is 2 Live Freely and the new URL is www.2livefreely.com. Now, for my long time readers, it's still going to be the "Living Free" blog. So, don't fear that it's going to change or morph into something so new, different and not fulfilling you won't recognize it. The blog will essentially remain the same.

Here is the official notice:

NOTICE: This blog is now the "2 Live Freely" blog with the URL address www.2livefreely.com  --  Please make note of that for future reference in the event you ever feel you've lost your connection to it.

Blogger has been and continues to be the host platform for this blog and the Blogger URL, www.livingandworkingfree.blogspot.com as well as my own registered domain, www.livingandworkingfree.com will continue to be active for at least the next several months. However, at some time in the future the blogspot URL will be phased out and disappear. The 2livefreely.com URL will become THE official blog address at that time. The livingandworkingfree.com domain may remain active a while longer, however, it, too, will be phased out.

Why Change The Title?

We know change is inevitable in just about everything. It's part of life. When I began this blog on February 6, 2008 with a post titled "Welcome To My World," it was my fourth attempt at blogging. I began with a blog in February 2005, three years earlier. There were two other blog starts, one in 2006 and another in 2007. And to be honest, there have been several other blog start ups since I began this blog.

This blog is approaching it's eighth year in publication in a few weeks. The world has changed. I have changed. This blog has changed.

However, with this specific blog, I was determined to find my "voice" and attempt to say something that was meaningful and would have some impact on other people's minds and lives. I attempted to consolidate into one thought process what I was attempting to say in the earlier blogs. I don't recall how extensive my domain search with Blogger was at the time I started this blog or later for my own registered domain. But, somehow I came up with the livingandworkingfree idea.

The title and the resulting URL were wordy and cumbersome. But, for the time, they worked. Again, inevitably, with the passing of time, I evolved, the blog evolved (and we both continue to evolve) and the "Living Free" concept became the central core of the blog.

Change happens whether we like it or not. So, wouldn't it be great if I could shorten the URL? Could I make it easier to remember and still reflect the actual core concept of the blog?

The Search For A New URL

When you add on the www and the .blogspot.com, it's a total of 37 characters to key in to address this blog. Even if you use the URL without the .blogspot it is still 28 characters. Have you tried to get that many characters on a baseball cap, a tee shirt, a coffee mug or a business card . . . readably? It's just too long for the purpose intended.

So, over the past several years I would do various searches for all kinds of shortened variations on the theme. Livefree or livingfree were my natural choices since that's where the blog evolved to. But nothing with a top level .com domain was available. Apparently, I selected a somewhat popular subject or some people registered the domains I wanted and were sitting on them. I guess they were counting on someone like me coming along and paying hundreds or some kind of four figure amount to acquire one of their URLs.

Finally, as this new year began I had time on my hands. I've been sitting here in sunny California waiting for My McVansion at the "engine hospital" to have a "heart" (engine) transplant, go through rehab and return to me. A perfect time to focus on matters like this.

Again, after hours of contemplating, writing out domain names, checking their availability, clicking on them to see what came up and researching "Whois" files to see who had them registered, I finally settled on 2livefreely.com. It was available and I grabbed it. So, now there are only 19 characters instead of 28 or 37 characters to key in. And, the 19 characters will fit better on a baseball cap, tee shirt, mug and business card. Oh yeah, and they express in one digit and two words what the blog is about.

Is this the ultimate URL and title I would have chosen? Probably not. But, I've lived with it for a little while and become comfortable with it. Of course, I welcome your comments on the new title and URL. And, I'm planning to continue using the "Living Free in an Unfree World" concept as the subtitle. So, if you choose, as I do, to continue referring to it as the "Living Free" blog, that's just fine.

Facelifting And Upgrading The Site

The other thing this "downtime," waiting for My McVansion, has allowed me to do is to gain some valuable insights from fellow blogger, Internet marketer, soon to be another full-time "vandweller" (with his better half, Sharon) and friend, John Abert of Cherokee Village, Arkansas, www.incargonito.blogspot.com. With his input and time to dig in and do more research, I've found the paths to not only do a serious facelift on the blog, but upgrade much of it's functionality.

So, over the next several days, weeks and possibly a month or two, you'll see changes, that should really spiff up the overall appearance and appeal of the 2 Live Freely site. But, even more importantly, they will also make it much more user friendly and efficient to navigate. So, keep your eyes open and please send me your comments and thoughts.

A Quote

The other day, I was emailing back and forth with an old college friend. Greg Cordano and I graduated together with the same major, Industrial Arts. Greg had a successful teaching and administration career in public education. He's been a lifelong educator and continues that passion even in retirement. Greg and his wife, Mary, also a retired teacher, have a small educational consulting business helping kids have a more positive educational experience. He sends some of his ideas and concepts past me for any insights and suggestions I might have. I'm humbled that he holds me in such high esteem.

He sent one of his daily quotations to his email list a few days ago. It motivated me to make the following statement in response. So, he asked to quote me and he immediately sent it out to his email list. I offer it to you. Do with it what you will, but if you do share it, and I hope you do, please be sure to attribute it to me and, if you would care to, add the new www.2livefreely.com to the attribution. I'd appreciate it.

"Your time equals your life! No time, no life! Waste time, waste life! So, have the time of your life all the time!" Ed Helvey, 2015, www.2livefreely.com   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Photos-of-the-Week - From Sea to Shining Sea and Gulf to Lake, America the Beautiful, 2014 - 2015

From Sea - The Atlantic Ocean

I've been sitting here in sunny, warm southern California enjoying the time I'm spending with my son as I await the recovery of My McVansion from it's "heart attack" (engine failure). I began recapping the past 12 months of travel My McVansion and I have enjoyed and experienced. I have literally been from sea to shining sea and from the Gulf to the Lakes. What a wonderful year. . . READ MORE & SEE 3 MORE PHOTOS

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Things Are Looking Up For My McVansion

If you look over the fence, below and left of the street
 number, 12501, you can see My McVansion's roof.
Today is the eighth day My McVansion has been undergoing "treatment" for its "heart attack." I admitted it to One Stop Engine Rebuilding a week ago Tuesday. Wednesday of last week, the master engine surgeons began the procedure of disassembling and rebuilding from the basic engine block up, a completely rebuilt "heart" (engine) for My McVansion. Eight days after they began, the heart of My McVansion is firmly seated in its cavity in the front of the patient.

For all practical intents and purposes, the engine is almost all new except for such things as the engine block and the camshaft. . . READ MORE

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #193 - Griffith Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, January 2015

Here is the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory is prominently located on what may be the highest point in Griffith Park on Mount Hollywood, a 3,000 plus acre preserve donated to the city of Los Angeles in 1896 by Col. Griffith J. Griffith. In his will he also left the funding to build the observatory with detailed specifications. The observatory was built in the mid 1930's as a WPA project during the Great Depression. It was officially opened to the public on May 14, 1935. It is and has always been free to the public in accordance with Griffith's will. . . READ MORE